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Sponsorship for Apps, Part II: Your App Strategy

When is an event app not an event app? When it’s a year-round destination for your event.

Forget New York and San Francisco, some of the most sought-after real estate in the world is a smartphone screen. If “location, location, location” is important, then event planners can offer sponsors a prime location right in front of their attendees’ eyeballs. Matt Keowen, Guidebook’s vice president of marketing, shared his app strategy in the webinar, Landing the Perfect Event App Sponsorship.

When Should You Use Mobile in Your Event Promotion Strategy?

Mobile apps have a longer shelf life than the event itself. Keowen said, “If you are only using your app onsite, you are missing the boat. The sponsor can be getting value from the app for up to 12 weeks, and in many cases longer.” Publish the app eight to 12 weeks before the event and promote it with registration marketing efforts. Pre-event polls in the app can help guide how planners configure the conference and make attendees feel listened to. After the event, use the app to ask for feedback and relay news and updates from the event. With enough ongoing investment in content, meeting planners can make the event app a year-round destination, with roll outs of content from sessions and announcements on next year’s preparations. In the past, meeting planners had concerns about moving away from traditional printed programs, concerned that attendees would be distracted by digital devices, but Keowen said meeting planners should embrace mobile. “People used to say, ‘put your phone away during a session’ but not anymore, you want them engaging with online content and doing polls and tweeting about the session,” he said. “You want your attendees to use their devices to reach all those people who couldn’t attend the event but might want to next year.” 

What App Adoption Rates Can Planners Expect?

Keowen said it depends on how savvy event planners and users are. He said, “We often see in our population of users adoption rates that are close to 100 percent. In some situations, meeting professionals can get over 100 percent adoption.” This is because attendees travel with multiple platforms and may download the app on iPads and other tablets as well as phones, particularly if the app offers must-have features for scheduling and networking, as well as entertaining games and news. (Read “4 Ways to Get 100 Percent+ Event App Downloads” to see how one organization reached all its attendees on mobile.)

When Should You Phase Out Printed Material?

Keowen admits to taking printed material to certain events where he assumed the demographic required paper, but he found that there is a strong industry bias toward sustainability. He said, “As a result of direct feedback, as an event planner, I’ve moved away from print and I think everyone else is, too.”




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